In response to a written question by a Labour MP, the government admitted last week that the average waiting time between a single employee or worker notifying the employment tribunal of their claim, and the date when they could expect it to reach any kind of hearing is a staggering 335 days, or 48 weeks.
However, the average waiting time for multiple claims (when two or more people bring proceedings arising out of the same facts, usually against a common employer) is even longer at 388 days, or 55 weeks.
Overall, therefore, the average waiting time for all claims is 340 days or 49 weeks. In complex claims requiring a preliminary hearing, this in effect means that the tribunal will not even start to consider the claim and the steps required for it to progress for nearly a year following submission.
The MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, Labour’s Justin Madders, also asked the government for the current average waiting times for publication of judgment once a case has been heard.
In answer to that question, the government said that it “aim[s] to work within the general correspondence targets and upload judgments to the public register within 10 working days of promulgation”. In other words, within 10 days of the judgment being made public.
The government sought to caveat its reply by pointing out that the data only applies to the period 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 because employment tribunals moved to a new case management system, and HM Courts & Tribunals Service is currently working to incorporate that new IT system alongside longer-established data sources, so as to provide a more complete and consistent data set.
Rachel Ellis of Thompsons Solicitors commented that: “It is no comfort to us or our clients that these hugely worrying statistics confirm what we are seeing day in day out. The aim of the tribunal system is to provide efficient and timely access to justice, yet in too many regions of the UK the delays in claims getting to any sort of hearing is hugely prejudicial to claimants. These are often people in dire financial situations or experiencing significant issues in the workplace. As always, at the bottom of this issue is a lack of resources due to cuts and the government, if it really believes in access to justice, needs to address that urgently."
To read the answer in full, click here.